When my wife got her driver's licence she was presented with a little stuffed animal as a gift. Ever since then it is dangling from the rear view mirror in whatever car she (now we) owns.
Yesterday my son and I were driving home from daycare and out of the blue he asks me "Daddy, what animal is that?" and points at that figure. I already opened my mouth to answer him when I thought, this might be the right time to let him figure stuff out for himself. He has seen these animals in real life already (there's an old church close by in which a few of them found a home) and he knows their name.
I gave him a hint:
"It is an animal that can fly but it is not a bird."
You have to know that he is almost 5 years old so patience is not (yet) one of his virtues. Of course he begged like every other kid would "Oh please, please tell me" but I insisted on him figuring it out by himself.
I tried boosting his confidence, that I know he will eventually figure it out. Additionally I told him that it is ok if it takes a while, maybe even a few days. Life is difficult that way, you do not always get an answer right away.
Later that day, it was almost bed time, he was sitting on his mother's lap and they were reading a book The Little Ghost when all of a sudden I heard him yelling.
"MOMMY! MOMMY! That's it!"
His mother was shocked, he never before reacted that way to being read a story. And he had been read that book already many times before. When she asked what was going on, he grabbed the book, jumped from her lap and yelled "No time, I have to tell daddy! I found the animal!"
I heard all this because I was in the next room and he was so excited and loud I could have heard it in every room. His little feet stomped full of energy through the house, the rhythm of his steps suggested he was stumbling once or twice. All the while yelling "Daddy, daddy, where are you?"
Me answering "at my desk, what's up?" finally pointed him into the right direction. He sprinted to me, showed me a page from the book and yelled "It's a bat! It's a bat!"
Drawn by Daniel Napp; Published in "Das kleine Gespenst - Tohuwabohu auf Burg Eulenstein" written by Preußler, Otfried; Thienemann-Esslinger Verlag GmbH in 2021
"I can see that" I said. "But why are you showing me this?"
"The animal in our car!" he said, still yelling full of excitement. "An animal that can fly but is not a bird. It is a bat!"
"Oh, right.... Well done." I replied with a big grin on my face.
I was so proud of him. I picked him up, hugged him dearly and whispered in his ear "See, I knew you would find it out. My little detective."
Header image designed with Canva - "Dangling Bat" picture taken myself